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Tips for Budgeting Better in the New Year

Dec 12, 2022

Tips for “Budgeting Better” in the New Year

Phew, this year has gone by in a flash! With holiday festivities right around the corner, we want to get ahead of the game with some helpful tips on how to better budget yourself for the upcoming year!

If this sounds like you, you might also have made a New Years resolution to budget better. That’s great! But you may also be wondering where to even start “budgeting better” – thankfully, we can help with that.

It can be tough to build a habit, especially when it’s as unglamorous as budgeting. With a few handy tips, however, you can be sure to put yourself on the path to success.

TIP #1 – Make it easy; keep it simple

If you make your budgeting process too complicated, it can become more of a hindrance than a help. Your goal is to track your income and spending, and that’s it. Generally speaking, try to have just a handful of spending categories on your budgeting worksheet and keep them consistent month to month.

Lucky for you, we have our own free, simple budget worksheet to get you started! We added some common income and expense areas already, but you can edit to your preference and needs. Then, schedule a time each month to work on and review your budget, and you’ll quickly find budgeting a breeze.

TIP #2 – Make it fun!

You’re not going to want to budget regularly if it feels like an unrewarding chore. With a little bit of forethought and setup, you can make your regular budgeting a more enjoyable part of your routine. Here’s some ideas:

  • Use color – Color and fun decorations do wonders for our mood. Whether you’re working in a spreadsheet on the computer or a physical notebook, customize it to your tastes. If using an app, see if there are options for personalization. You’ll be surprised how small changes can make a huge difference.
  • Reward yourself – Reward yourself for getting it done! Work the reward into the budget itself and set a spending limit. Budgeting more might seem counterintuitive, but this ensures you get to treat yourself guilt-free, and it might even help you save more!
  • Make it a date – Schedule a recurring date with your partner or your friends, work on your budgets together, then reward yourselves with a board game, nice dinner or other fun activity! Much like study groups in school, you may find it a lot more bearable with loved ones – plus, you can keep each other accountable.

TIP #3 – Make specific resolutions

It’s much easier to stick to specific goals over vague ones! First, sit down and make your budget for the first time. If you share expenses with a spouse or your family, include them in the budgeting process.

Then, once you’ve laid out all your income and expenses, you can start seeing the places that need improvement. Set a specific goal like “Don’t spend more than $50 on fast food in a month” or “Keep 10% for savings and 10% for special treats.” It does not matter what your goal is as long as it’s concrete and attainable.

TIP #4 – Start saving!

One of the first steps to “budgeting better” is simple – save! Your goal should be to save 10% of your income each month. If you can’t manage that yet, start with a smaller amount – any amount is better than none. Here are some quick savings tips:

  • Set savings goals – Saving with a purpose is always more effective than just deciding to save more. Start off by building up your emergency fund – a good rule of thumb is to save three-to-six months’ worth of living expenses. Then, start saving for a specific goal, such as a vacation or new computer. To help you meet your goals, you can open up additional savings accounts right here at Honda FCU!
  • Pay yourself first – If you’re struggling to set aside money every month for savings, do it at the beginning of the month rather than the end. If you can, put your money in savings before you even pay the bills.
  • Make it automatic – Set it and forget it, and you’ll find your savings rocketing up! You can set up automatic transfers each month from your checking to your savings right through online banking.

Follow these tips, and you’ll find your resolution to budget better is a lot easier to stick to than you thought! For additional help on starting your budget, check out our free educational course today. As always, we are here to help!